Swedish pop supergroup ABBA, which ruled the charts for much of the 1970s, has reportedly returned to the studio to release two new tunes. The songs, which will be the first works issued by the group since their final release in 1982. The band split up the following year.
According to BBC, the new material comes on the heels of a band decision to reunite for what they call a virtual reality tour, that will consist of the group taking to the stage in holographic form.
"We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the studio," announced the band on its Instagram account. "And it was like time stood still."
So far, at least the title of one song is already known; "I Still Have Faith In You" is slated to be played on a simulcast between the BBC and NBC in December. As for how the new pieces sound, a spokesperson said it would have the same pop sound that endeared fans during the group's heyday but will have some more modern elements.
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Whether the material will have the same appeal as chart-toppers like "Waterloo," "S.O.S." and "Dancing Queen" remains to be seen. The singles and the nine ABBA albums have amounted to international sales of around 400 units during the roughly 10 years the group has been together.
As for the tour, the group hopes the novelty of holographic technology will placate fans who would have preferred to see the group perform in the flesh. That said, ABBA very seldom toured during their time together. One member, Bjorn Ulvaeus, estimated that the number of live dates they entertained during that decade would have amounted to roughly seven months.
Ulvaeus has already seen the initial stages of the holographic show being worked on, and while there's still a long way to go, he was impressed over its progress. Approached by former American Idol producer Simon Fuller, Ulvaeus was intrigued over the idea of ABBA avatars, later dubbed ABBA-tars, in which digital versions of the group could tour in place of the real thing.
"I've seen this project halfway through and it's already mind-boggling," said Ulvaeus. "And they say once it's finished you'll never see that it's not a human being. And what attracted me personally to this is, of course, I'm always curious, scientifically-curious and this is new technology and we are pioneers."
Announcements of the new songs and virtual tour come on the heels of a London exhibition chronicling the band's career. Also in London, the musical Chess, which Ulvaeus wrote with ABBA cohort Benny Andersson and lyricist Tim Rice, continues to enjoy a lengthy run on the theater circuit.